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Top 3 wine countries for hiking in Portugal
Some of the best Walking Tours in Portugalare immersed in the endless beauty of it's wine regions. From the Douro valley, passing through Dão or Alentejo, it is difficult to choose the destination to start your adventure. But one thing is certain, whatever the choice, we are sure you'll fall love with any of these region, their cultural and natural heritage and people.
Our tours in these wine countries, wither guided or self-guided are amongst our most popular experiences. From single day guided hiking tours in the Douro valley, to longer, 7 day tours in Alentejo wine country or the Douro's international Pack and historical villages. Nothing quite beats hiking by the Portuguese vineyards and tasting some it's wines - 2019's Wine Spectator awards brought 11 Great Gold medals to Douro wines, followed by Alentejo's seven and Dão's with four, from 1382 wines put to the test. , The title of “The Best of the Year” was won by Quinta Vale D. Maria Vinha da Francisca (2016), from the Douro region, from Aveleda SA. Find out more about hiking in these regions below:
HIKING IN DOURO
Recognized as World Heritage by UNESCO, the Douro Vineyard Landscape invites you to memorable walks of knowledge and history. Each corner is a discovery of knowledge and flavors, with an exquisite touch of the aromas of the vine varieties. The extremely steep slopes of the Douro River are a masterpiece of man's hand, which made this land the father of the gods' nectar, the famous Port Wine. Those who pass through the region do not resist the call of its taste, bringing in the lips the memory of its flavor.
Among the varieties that grow there, are famous five varieties of red - Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cão, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional - and five of white - Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Moscatel, Rabigato and Viosinho.
The Alto Douro Wine Region, the Historic Zone of Porto and the Côa Valley Archaeological Park are three of the must-see places not only for being recognized as a World Heritage by UNESCO, but also for being places of rare beauty. There are also two natural parks, Douro International and Alvão, which are also essential to visit.
Among cellars, museums, churches and ancient villages, this region offers a vast number of places to explore. Here, although surrounded by the past, we feel a touch of sophistication when we enter places like the Port Wine Cellars in Gaia, or the Douro Museum in Peso da Régua, where we drink the history of the region and how it all began.
In the historic center of Porto there are numerous places to visit, such as the Guerra Junqueiro House Museum, a Portuguese writer who made of this region his source of inspiration for literary works. The Cathedral and the Episcopal Palace are ex-líbrisof the city. And if we go to Lamego, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies, or to Pinhão and its famous railway station, we can glimpse the ancient art of tiles, so traditional in Portuguese culture.
Of course, you can't miss the flavors of the rich gastronomy of this region. The famous Francesinha cannot be missed from those who visit Porto for the first time, but this region has much more to offer… the Cabrito Assado no Forno, Javali Estufado, Posta Mirandesa, Arroz de Cabidela,not forgetting the traditional sweets like Biscuito da Teixeira and Peixinhos de Chila.
The Alentejo is, par excellence, the calling of the earth. Unlike the previous regions here the plain and calm reigns, the tranquility of the nap under the ‘chaparro’... Or like this became famous this region, which hides a terrain of constant gentle rises and falls, very desirable for those who like to walk, designed in its eight sub regions: Reguengos, Borba, Redondo, Vidigueira, Évora, Granja-Amareleja, Portalegre and Moura, which together form the Alentejo Wine Route.
In all these sub regions, we can taste the texture of the Alentejo wine, characterized by the white varieties of Antão Vaz, Arinto, Roupeiro, Diagalves, Manteiço, Perrum and Rabo de Ovelha, and red grape varieties of Alfrocheiro, Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Castelão, Trincadeira, Moreto, Tinta Caiada and Tinta Grossa.
To walk through the details of Alentejo is to lose ourselves in the purest rurality of Portugal, but not only that. Here we seem to be making a return to the distant past of previous centuries through all the existing cultural heritage. The most famous is undoubtedly the Roman Temple of Diana in Évora. The coziest one will be the village of Monsaraz and its 16th century fortification.
Borba, Redondo and Vidigueira invite you to sit at the table, spending time socializing with good wine and a delightful gastronomy, from the traditional Açorda Alentejana, Migas, to the Beldroegas Soup, the Ensopado de Borrego, never forgetting the convent sweets as the example of the Almond Cake of the Convent of Vidigueira.
The Dão region takes us to the stunning Serra da Estrela, which does not allow us to remain indifferent to its characteristic altitude, mother of the improved flavor of its products. To walk in the mountains is to go deep into nature, finding places very little changed by man, some even seeming to stand still in time. Outside the big cities, we feel in communion and peace with nature, not missing the industrialization of the big cities. The mountain is magic; it is a star in our path.
The wines are so special; by the way the vineyards are surrounded by the peculiar climate. In the white varieties we have the Encruzado, Bical, Cercial, Malvasia Fina, Tail of Sheep and Verdelho. In the red grape varieties we have the Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Jaen, Tinta Roriz, Berry, Bastardo and Tinta Pinheira.
There is so much more to glimpse in this demarcated region of Dão, finding the most city side between Coimbra and Viseu. Among the academic knowledge of Coimbra, known as the 'student city' and where we can visit the University (UNESCO World Heritage) and its Joanina Library, and the flavors of Viseu, with its Rancho à Moda de Viseu and the Pastéis de Feijão, we are undoubtedly well served in both cities. In the city of Viriato, we cannot forget to visit the Grão Vasco Museum, right next to the Cathedral.
Want to discover Portugal's best wine countries on a hiking tour? Contact us!
Also, if you are planning to discover Portugal on foot, check our quick guide about Walking in Portugal, where we talk about when to go and the best regions to go hiking in Portugal, among other insider tips.